Plums, figs and wine – these were the things Frederick the Great wanted to grow before the gates of Potsdam. He had the terrace garden in Sanssouci Park laid out for this purpose in 1744. Because of the extraordinarily beautiful view, however, the king was already starting to think about having a lush pleasure palace built above the terraces a year later. Based on his own sketches, the Prussian king had a small summer palace built in the Rococo style between 1745 and 1747.
In the following years the New Palace and the Bildergalerie (Picture Gallery) were also built in the park, while the slopes were used for ornamental and vegetable gardens. Today the tomb of Frederick II is located at the same level as the palace itself.
On Ruinenberg north of Sanssouci Palace, artificial pieces of ruins were grouped together to form a decorative antique ensemble which at the same time concealed a water basin. This was to supply the fountains in the park. The king was particularly fond of the elaborate aquatic features, but in the end he was only able to enjoy them on a single occasion as the system did not function properly until the construction of the steam-powered pumping house at Neustädter Havelbucht in the 19th century.
Under Frederick the Great’s successors, the Baroque garden – having subsequently gone out of fashion – was redesigned in the style of a landscape park and extended by Frederick William IV to include facilities such as Charlottenhof Villa, the Orangery and the Roman Baths. Here the king wanted to add a touch of Italian style to his homeland.
Naturally, the palaces in Sanssouci Park provide a breathtaking backdrop for events such as the Potsdam Hofkonzerte concert series and the music festival.
Please be aware of falling branches in the park and do not stay under old trees for a longer while.
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